In The News

Well known car designer and inventor dies

Well known car designer and inventor dies

The death has taken place of Ron Hickman the car designer and inventor. He was 78.

Mr. Hickman will be best known for two of his designs – the Lotus Elan sports car and the Black & Decker Workmate bench.

His work at Lotus included playing a key part in the launch of he Type 14 Elite which took the radical step of producing the sports car’s body from fibreglass and placing it over a steel backbone chassis.

As the technology developed Mr. Hickman designed the Elan which was a much admired model with its seductive lines.

But for many people it will be the Workmate that they will remember the designer for.

It was a DIY disaster that led the South African born designer to develop the folding work bench.

While making a wardrobe in the early 1960s Mr. Hickman damaged an expensive chair as he sawed through a piece a wood. 

He then designed a bench which was to become the Workmate. 

The design was turned down by one company after claiming it would probably only sell “dozens” of units.

Black & Decker took on the invention and have sold around 30 million Workmates.

Mr. Hickman had been living in Jersey since the late 1970s. 

He died in hospital after suffering a serious fall several months ago.


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